First Year Ministers Seminar

I am spending the first three days of this week at Picket Elliot House, the UUA’s B&B just off Beacon Street in Boston at a seminar with thirty-two of my fellow ministers in their first year of fellowship.

Some interesting points from a presentation this morning by Rev. Jory Agate based on the book God’s Potters by storal Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations (Pulpit & Pew) by Jackson W. Carroll:

70% of all churches are small churches but the majority of people attend a large church.

The biggest source of conflict between pastors and lay leadership is a difference between  a pastors leadership style and the leadership style the congregation expects (read is used to).

The  four main styles of pastoral leadership outlined by Jackson are:

1. Pastor takes charge

2. Pastor inspires and engages laity to act

3. Pastor acts on laity’s goals

4. Laity acts alone and pastor empowers

Style #2 is reported to be the most successful style.

Top six things that effect clergy satisfaction:

1. compensation

2. congregational conflict

3. stress

4. relationship issues

5. pastoral role (isolation, people treat you differently)

6. health (78% of ministers are overweight, 38% are obese – this is about the same percent as the general population).

BUT – ministers report the #1 job satisfaction in the United States (firefighters are number #2 – go Fire Chaplains!)

The thing that caught my attention the most however was this gem – “We’ve always done it that way” is the sign of a dying church.   Yep.

Culture changes so fast in the twentieth century that church life has to change with it.  You can’t do church the same way in a YouTube world the way you did church in a Leave it to Beaver world.

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